Beauty experts boost for cancer patients at Quadrant Shopping Centre

SPECIALLY trained beauticians at a Swansea store are providing a tonic to people coping with cancer by giving them stylish makeovers.

Beauty staff at Boots in the city’s busy Quadrant Shopping Centre have been trained to provide support for cancer patients as part of the long-standing partnership between the chemists and Macmillan Cancer Support.

In a recent survey, over three quarters of women said the visible side effects of cancer treatment had a negative impact on their confidence, while more than two thirds said they didn’t know how to disguise them.

That’s why a network of Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors has now been introduced, which includes Number 7 Business Manager Natalie Howell and her colleague Fern Jones, a Number 7 Advisor, at the Quadrant Centre store.

They have both completed their special training and are currently performing around 10 free makeovers a week.

Natalie, who has worked at Boots for 30 years and has spent the past four years as part of the Number 7 team at the branch, said: “Potential Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors are selected on a purely voluntary basis and then sent for their training.

“I went to the Boots headquarters in Bristol and the programme started with us being shown a film in which people speak about their experiences after being diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s very emotional and prepares you for the sort of things you will see. We also did a lot of reading about cancer and its effects and had cancer patients in to speak to us.

“It is only after you are fully prepared in this way that you are taught how do practical things like making-up eyebrows and eyelashes and moisturising skin which has dried out because of cancer treatment.”

Natalie added: “Since Fern and I completed our training we’ve been very busy with the makeovers and are now doing about 10 a week.

“And it’s not all been ladies. We recently saw a man whose skin had dried out because of his cancer treatment and he needed a bit of help to get some moisture back into it.

“Naturally, while we are doing the makeovers people chat to us and sometimes ask us if we know where they can go to get cancer counselling or advice on financial problems they are having a result of their condition.

“We are not trained to provide this type of help ourselves but we do have the information to point them in the right direction.

“Since we started the service we’ve had lots of lovely feedback from people with cancer who we’ve worked with.

“They tell us they are delighted with what we have been able to do for them and say that it’s given a great boost to their self-confidence and made them feel brighter.

“It can sometimes be quite emotional but we enjoy doing it very much.”

Fern said: “I think most people these days know someone with cancer. In fact, my auntie, who is 61, is currently fighting breast cancer.

“She’s doing fine and I occasionally do a little makeover for her and I know how brilliant it makes her feel, so doing the same thing at work as a Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisor is very rewarding.

“Looking good can always make ladies feel much better about themselves. One lady with cancer who came to us for a makeover told me she was feeling very down but when I put a little lipstick on for her she said she could now face the world.

“It’s things like that which make what we do so worthwhile.”

Kelly Smith, Beauty Manager at Boots in the Quadrant Centre, said: “We need to let more people know about this service, which is a way of getting over the taboo subject which cancer can still sometimes be.

“The makeovers are all about making people feel good about themselves and we are delighted to provide this free facility in our store.”

Paul Davies, Regional Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This is a new and innovative service which comes as a result of the long-standing partnership between ourselves and Boots.

“We hope that the makeovers can help people overcome the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis. Basically, if you look good then you also feel good.

“We now have these two excellent Number 7 advisors working at the Boots store in the Quadrant Centre and hopefully there may be more in the future.”

Boots UK colleagues and customers have raised £6 million since the partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support began, and are continuing to raise significant funds for the charity to help to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

Over 1,000 Boots colleagues have so far given their time to volunteer for Macmillan since the partnership began by supporting local events, campaigning and providing practical and emotional support.

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